Legio Wargames

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By smacdowall, Jun 9 2016 09:29AM

At the Battle of the Dunes in 1658 Marshal Turenne had 2 battalions of the Gardes Suisses in his army.

For quite some time I have agonised as how to represent them. The first recorded uniform was in 1665 when they wore blue-grey coats lined buff. A few years later the officers were allowed blue coats while the sergeants were wearing red in the 1670s. For a while pikemen wore blue and musketeers red and it was only in 1684 that the more familiar red coat with blue lining was adopted.

Les Gardes Suisses
Les Gardes Suisses

Apart from my Gardes Francaises, none of the units in my French army wear uniforms. Although there is no hard evidence for it, I decided that my Gardes Suisses would also be given uniforms and they would be the same blue-grey and buff coats recorded 7 years later.

By 1658 the long justacorps had started to make an appearance even though it would not become universal for a few years more. I reasoned that if a uniform was issued to the Swiss Guards then it would be of the latest fashion. Therefore I went for the Northstar 1672 range to fill the ranks.

I used the Northstar Swiss pikemen but not their Swiss musketeers, preferring instead to mix some French and generic musketeers from the 1672 range.

Swiss musketeers and sergeant
Swiss musketeers and sergeant

I had two reasons for this. Firstly the Northstar Swiss musketeers have plug bayonets on their belts whereas the others do not and the plug bayonet was not yet in use. Secondly the Swiss musketeers are standing at rest and I wanted the Gardes Suisses to look right in the same line as my Gardes Francaises who have front rank musketeers firing and second rank at the ready. I decided to put my sergeant in a red coat which later became standard.

Pikemen and officers
Pikemen and officers

. Complete with 3/4 armour and with ‘points’ on the breaches I think the pikmen really looked the part and give the unit a Swiss look. I did not uniform the officers as I thought it most likely they would be wearing what they pleased at this time.

By smacdowall, Feb 6 2016 07:34PM

It must be the turn of the Guards!

Having just completed the Gardes Suisses circa 1706 in 15mil, I have moved up a scale and back a half century to finish up the Gardes Françaises for my Battle of the Dune’s project.

This will be the only uniformed regiment in my 1658 French army. I have painted them in their first uniform which was recorded in 1661 as being grey with red rather than the more familiar blue and red of later years.

There are some hints in the memoirs of Monsieur d’Artagnan that the Gardes Française may have been uniformed before 1661 and I thought that giving them uniforms would make them stand out above the rest. I have also used the rather excellent Northstar 1672 range of figures rather than ECW or Thirty Years War ranges. My logic is that if the King was going to provide them with coats they would most likely be in the latest fashion.

This NCO figure is listed by Northstar as the young Marlborough who saw service in the French army. This is based on a drawing in the Osprey Blenheim book although it does not actually portray ? Churchill. The very short jacket which exposes the shirt is a late 1650’s fashion and so perfect for the Dunes.

The basis of my French army are battalions of 3 bases with 8 shot and 4 pike, representing 600 men on a 1:50 scale. The guards usually had several battalions present so I have made this unit up of 6 bases with two standards so that they can be deployed together or separately.

The officer carrying the ‘drapeau blanc’ has enough feathers, ribbons and lace to satisfy anyone’s inner transvestite. Later versions had crowns on each of the arms of the cross but It seems that this was not yet in use. I decided to give the cross a gold border just to make the flag look a little more guards-like.

The colour scheme was inspired by this rather wonderful 19th century painting of Condé’s reception at Versailles. It also shows some pages in the short jackets worn by the NCO.

The clothing for the other ensign is loosely based on the painting of the Battle of Seneffe (1674) below. He is carrying the blue company colours which may have had as many fleurs de lis in each quadrant as the number of the company.

Given than four fleurs de lis are easier to paint than 40, I decided that this should be the 1st company rather than the 10th! It looks remarkably like the modern Quebec flag.

By smacdowall, Dec 29 2015 06:09PM

Avid readers will be aware that the Duke of York was captured and his lifeguards wiped out at the Battle of Ardes. This left English Royalist forces in exile woefully short of Horse.

In the following engagement at Blancard Colonel Thomas Blague managed to gather a small body of Horse who performed magnificently. As a reward King Charles II in exile has re-equipped Blague's troopers in the latest fashions and promoted them to replace the Duke of York's Lifeguards.

Here they are decked out in the best Flemish cloth cut in the latest style, with Colonel Blague as their Captain. The men are all from Northstar's wonderful 1672 range but, with the exception of the Colonel (left of photo), I have mounted them on Warlord Games horses. I did this because they are slightly larger than most other miniatures in my army and by puting them on Warlord horses they fit in better with other troops. The Northstar riders fit very well on the Warlord horses.

The Lifeguards' standard is made up as I could find no record of what was carried by the Duke of York's men. I thought a gold king's crown on a crimson ground would look right as it is similar to what was carried by later lifeguard units. The hand of God holding out a laurel wreath seemed like a nice touch and I added the motto "Per Grat. Dei" short for "Per Gratiam Dei" or "by the grace of God". This seemed to convey the idea of divine right appropriate for Royalist troops. At the top corners I added white roses of York.

The basic design of the standard came from the one above which I found on the internet.

Should the Duke of York manage to rejoin his brother in time this impressive looking figure from the Northstar Cavalry Command Group will represent him.

Until that time this will be Colonel Blague resplendent in the new clothes provided by the King over the water.

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